Emily Davis has always found solace in the sea. Her earliest childhood memory of being knee deep in the shallows, watching the swell grow as a thunderstorm rolled in
to the shore, hints at her fascination with the cinematic spectacle of the ocean. ‘There’s something utterly compelling about the sea. In every dream I have at night, the sea is usually the star
of the show. It’s the thing I feel most in tune with.’
Despite leaving the Eyre Peninsula as a small child, her connection with the sea remains unbroken. So, it’s no surprise that the endless sea, and the drama it
conjures is a symbolic feature of most songs on Davis’ third studio album, ‘You, Me & the Velvet Sea.’ ‘It’s not a concept album,’ says Davis. ‘But, nearly every track features the symbolism
of the sea. In a way, the sea becomes the metaphor for love, in all its incarnations, which is the driver behind every song.’
Davis is a much-loved singer-songwriter, whose music explores the very essence of human connection through love, the universal truths we all know but are often too
afraid to admit, and her enduring belief in the transformative power of love. She has lived a life with her heart on her sleeve, and despite the (sometimes) dire consequences, remains steadfast
in her devotion to love.
‘After a long songwriting drought, my life took a dramatic turn, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with new songs. It was like a flood. Day or night I’d have to stop whatever I was doing and scratch
down a melody or chord progression. They all felt honest, even if the lyrics were a little sassy, or written in a narrative voice that was stylised. I was newly single, living alone for the first
time ever, and reassessing everything I’d ever loved, trying to make sense of it all.’ Davis confirms that despite some sadness, the underlying tone of the album is one of hope. ‘It’s not all
dark! In those times, I realised how loved I was, and ended up writing odes to friends and family who saw me through the dark times.’
The album was recorded Chapel Lane Studios, at a leisurely pace over three months. It was also lovingly co-produced with Davis’ band of female players. A somewhat motley crew, Davis is convinced
their deep emotional connection is what makes it all stick.
‘It’s surprising that we managed to make a cohesive, folk-rock album given the different styles everyone masters. Annie (Bass) and Holly (Drums) are superb Jazz musicians, Tori is a virtuosic
classical violinist, and Emily Smith is a highly sought-after country guitarist; but despite their differences, everyone left their ego at the door, worked super collaboratively and lovingly to
make the record shine.’
The album, featuring 10 tracks, departs from her gentle pop-folk style of albums past and has a rockier feel, with more dramatic notions and textured electric and acoustic guitar layers. Inspired
by the work of The Dirty Three, and storytellers such as Brandi Carlile, Davis creates a bed of washy and sometimes gritty guitars, epic floor toms and thudding bass, offset by fiddle and sweet
four-part harmonies. Davis’ evocative lyrics are delivered front and centre with her syrupy voice, which despite being a little older, and wiser, resonate with honesty and warmth.
Davis will launch ‘You, Me and the Velvet Sea’ at Jive on April 14th, with her full band and follow this up with a National Tour in May.